Incheon Pentaport Rock Festival @ Dream Park, Incheon (Jul. 24th – 25th 2010)

“Bouncing Back”
Live Report : “‘Bouncing Back” @ Dream Park, Incheon 2010.07.24 – 25

Incheon Pentaport Rock Festival
For three summers, from 2006 until 2008, the Incheon Pentaport Rock Festival was South Korea’s premier outdoor music event. In 2009, the promotion companies responsible for organizing the multi-day concert split, resulting in two competing festivals – the Incheon Pentaport Rock Festival and the newly formed Jisan Valley Rock Festival – running on the exact same days. Although a poor decision by both sides, popular opinion is that the Jisan Valley Rock Festival came out on top.

Choosing to operate on a different weekend for its 2010 edition, the fifth Incheon Pentaport Rock Festival was held from July 23 to July 25. This year the bash was moved to Incheon’s Dream Park, its spacious, green surroundings creating a more comfortable experience for fest-goers.

Late Saturday afternoon, Seoul’s Ynot? turned in a lively set on the Dream Stage with front man Ju Mong banging away on a metal pan as receptive attendees hollered their approval. Ynot?’s cover of Chumbawamba’s “Tubthumping” went over especially well with the festival crowd. They were followed by Japan’s Wagdug Futuristic Unity. Opening with the title track from 2008’s “Hakai” full-length, Hiroshi Kyono, the former vocalist for The Mad Capsule Markets, and his backing band tore through heavy, aggressive material accented with occasional electro flourishes. Perched atop one of the monitors, Kyono shouted his lyrics while his guitarist and bassist headbanged along.

Incheon Pentaport Rock FestivalMany began filing out of the shed-like Dream Stage half an hour into Wagdug Futuristic Unity’s 40-minute showing in anticipation of LCD Soundsystem’s appearance on the Pentaport Stage. Although Hoobastank were billed as the night’s headliner, the pre-event buzz was all about Monsieur James Murphy and company.

An expat fan yelled, “Oh fuck, yeah!” as the lights dimmed and members of the band began filing out. Murphy was the last to emerge and on cue LCD Soundsystem broke into “Us v Them” from 2007’s much praised “Sound Of Silver” causing a big dance party as spectators excitedly bounced to the organic dance pop. The group’s first time to perform in South Korea (Murphy and drummer Pat Mahoney did a Seoul DJ set in 2008), Murphy paused to express his gratitude and joy to be playing Pentaport before a great rendition of “Drunk Girls” from this year’s “This Is Happening.”

Sounding fantastic, LCD Soundsystem’s 80-minute gig featured a dozen very cool, tight anthems that unsurprisingly all went over very well. There was a full moon just off to the left of the massive main stage, a large conga line started during “Pow Pow,” and it was good times all around as LCD Soundsystem proved themselves to be Saturday’s best.

After short lunchtime appearances from “Hello Rookie” up-and-comers Poe and Windycat, Seoul’s Orgeltanz took to the Dream Stage on Sunday. Amicably splitting up in early August, this was the sextet’s second last gig. Having previously played at Pentaport ’08 on the Adidas stage in the food court, their promotion to a proper performance area allowed them to bow out in style.

Incheon Pentaport Rock Festival

Opening with the well-crafted instrumental “Orgeltanz” from 2008’s “From The Cradle To The Grave” cheers greeted Canada-born belly dancer Eshe as she joined accordionist and vocalist Marca Marco, guitarist Miong, violinist Angel, percussionist Kkangile, and bassist Bassudeng early in the track. A mix of folk and world-inspired rhythms, Orgeltanz’s seven-song set provided some extra flavor to Pentaport’s rock, pop, and electronica heavy bill. Appearing quite relaxed while playing selections such as “Mangsang,” the act seemed to be relishing their time together. Pausing before closer “Hava Nagila” while Marco shared that this was one of their final shows, Eshe could be seen wiping a few tears away but then flashed a big smile as the band launched into the uplifting cover.

Incheon Pentaport Rock FestivalAfter 40-minutes of post-grunge standards from the long running Huckleberry Finn on the Pentaport Stage, Yellow Monsters took to the Dream Stage. A replacement for I&I Djangdan (who pulled out of the fest a few days prior), the trio is comprised of members from Gumx, My Aunt Mary, Omega 3, and Delispice. Presenting energetic punk cuts from their newly issued eponymous debut, guitarist Lee Yong Won encouraged the already excited crowd by waving his arms and cupping his ear with his hand to call for more cheers. Ending with a rendition of “Sweet Child O’ Mine,” passersby and those hovering outside of the covered area quickly ran inside to bop along to the Guns N’ Roses classic.

Incheon Pentaport Rock FestivalThe real treat of the day was an excellent 50-minute concert from Osaka’s Ego-Wrappin’. Sporting a tiny sombrero on her head, charismatic front woman Yoshie Nakano called out “Incheon, are you ready?” as the band kicked into their first jazz-infused number. Stepping over the monitors, Nakano was literally hovering on the edge of the Pentaport Stage as she sang to the dancing audience. Commenting on the sweltering heat with a simple, “Hot, hot,” the high temperature didn’t phase Nakano and the rest of Ego-Wrappin’ as they played fun favourites like “A Love Song” from 1999’s “Swing For Joy” and previewed numbers from their upcoming “Naimononedari No Deadheat” disc. Nakano asked mid-set “Are you happy?” She was eagerly answered with a loud roar of approval and thousands of raised arms.

Photos courtesy of the Incheon Pentaport Rock Festival

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Text:
Shawn Despres
shawn@smashingmag.net

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